20 Backyard Pool Must Haves

Chicago winters may be brutal but you can’t beat our summers! We are so fortunate to be able to cool down in the warm weather with our backyard pool. I like to think paradise awaits 10 steps from the house.

in ground backyard pool, limelight hydranges, serena & Lily sling chairs

Over the years we have finally figured out the key essentials for our pool investment. Having these ‘must haves’ has given us a pool that is safe, clean and provides long-lasting memories with my family. Which is the best must have of all!!

backyard pool with concrete surround and pebble sheen finish in ocean blue

20 Backyard Pool Must Haves

Pool maintenance

Whether you do it yourself or hire this out, pool maintenance is a critical step for any pool owner. Clean and balanced water are essential in a pool maintenance routine. Tasks such as skimming debris from the water’s surface, vacuuming, testing the water and adding any needed chemicals are part of the maintenance process.

You could certainly learn to maintain your pool yourself, but we find value in opening our pool cover and knowing it will always be crystal clear and ready to swim!

Safety items

Adult supervision is the best supervision for children around the pool, but you should also have a few other safety items around your backyard pool. A ring buoy can easily be thrown to someone in need. For marking off the deep end of the pool, use a rope and float line. Last but not least, every pool area needs to have a first aid kit. All of these safety items should be in a well-marked accessible area.


I love sitting on the water in a favorite pool float to keep cool. Not to mention they are always a hit with the kiddos! From rafts, to rings, to chairs most floats are easy to inflate and store when not used. You can find floats for every budget, some that are super reasonable to more investment-worthy styles that may last a little longer!

Backyard pool features pebble sheen finish in ocean blue.


A pool owner can never have too many towels to dry off your pool guests. My favorite towels are the oversized, absorbent ones that come in different colors. They are perfect to lay on the loungers when we are out of the pool.


A backyard pool area is not just for splashing around, it’s for relaxing as well. Having enough seating around your pool is essential for getting the most out of your pool experience. We chose these sling chairs since we have a grass surrounding, and didn’t want anything too bulky killing the grass.

Water toys

Water toys help to keep my backyard pool more interesting for my family. Our favorites are ring toss, dive rings and water volleyball. We can spend hours playing and laughing when we bring the water toys out.

Sun protection

Sunscreen is important to help protect skin from damaging UV rays. Products like creams, sprays and clothing help to shield our skin from sun damage. I find sunscreen in a spray form, is the easiest to apply on my family. Look for sun protection in a broad spectrum with an SPF 30 or higher when around the pool and reapply after extended outdoor activity.

Pool ladder

Whether you have an inground or above ground pool, a ladder is necessary to get in the pool. Look for ladders that are sturdy, practical and nice to look at.

Chaise lounge

A chaise lounge is commonly found around a backyard pool. These chairs typically are long and sit close to the ground. Chaise lounge chairs are perfect for enjoying the sun or for watching the kids splash around in the pool. The chairs come in a variety of materials suitable for outdoor enjoyment.

Pool vacuum

Traditional pool vacuums are starting to be replaced with robotic pool vacuums and for good reason. Not only are they super convenient as compared to a pressured pool vacuum, a robotic does not run off the pool pump like traditional pool vacuums do. This is a huge benefit when it comes to saving money from not having to run your pool pump as much.

Pool fence

A pool fence is the number one defense to keep children and unwanted guests away from the pool area. Pools that are built in the ground, must be enclosed by a fence. Fencing is also required on above ground pools depending on the depth of the water.


A skimmer is essential for clean and clear pool water. Basically a skimmer takes in pool water, cleans it, and then pushes the clean filtered water back out into the pool. You will find most inground pools have built-in skimmers. You can also get a handheld skimmer to collect any debris on the surface of your pool water.

Bluetooth Speaker

We love to play music when we are around the pool. My Bluetooth speaker is perfect for poolside. Look for speakers that are waterproof so there is no need to worry should it get wet from all the splashing.

Water games

We try to incorporate water games for all ages when we are in the pool. We find that we can do a lot with some inflatable water balls and a net. Basketball in the pool with a net on the edge is another favorite for kids, big and small.

Pool alarm

Pool alarms won’t keep others out of the pool but will alert you when it detects that someone is near or in your pool. In addition, pool alarms are an extra layer of security for pool owners especially ones with children and pets.


No backyard pool is complete without some pool noodles, right? In an array of bright colors, the noodles are perfect for lounging, games and even exercising. What makes them outlast some other pool flotations is that they are made from an extra dense foam which creates a more buoyant pool noodle.

Backyard pool with concrete surround and sling chairs

Table and Chairs

Having table and chairs set up near or around your backyard pool provides another place to entertain or relax when not swimming. I’m a big fan of these sling back chairs. They recline and they are easy to move around.

Drink holders

Another beverage? Yes please. Floating drink holders are the best! These mini drink floats can keep you hydrated while you are in the pool.


Not only do our beverages need to be chilled on a hot summer day but so does the pool water. A pool chiller is an electric machine that cools the pool water down by circulating the water. Did you know that by circulating pool water it will naturally lower the temperature of your pool?

Pool cover

The most popular pool cover these days is a solar blanket. Solar blankets help heat the pool using solar energy and helps reduce the evaporation of your pool water. Keep in mind, this cover is just about reducing your heating or gas costs, it is not meant as a safety mechanism. 

When we decided to put in our pool, our number one must have was a pool cover. Our cover is controlled by a keypad and code which only my husband and I know for now. If the pool is closed (which it always is when we aren’t actually using it), we have complete peace of mind that nothing is falling in the pool.

It also keeps critters and bugs out of the pool, and during chilly nights keeps the heat from leaving the pool. Automatic pool covers can be expensive, I believe ours was in the neighborhood of $15,000 but it was an absolute must have while we had small children who couldn’t swim. The peace of mind has been 100% worth the cost in my opinion!

kids blowing bubbles in swimming pool

I hope these 20 backyard pool must haves have given you an idea of the items that are essential to enjoying your pool for years to come. Who’s ready to jump in?

20 Backyard Pool Must Haves

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XO, Andrea
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